Caregivers: Consideration to Elderly Skin Care
As we get older, so does our skin. The skin, also called the epidermis, is the outermost layer of the body. We think in detail about our skin when we are young and self-sufficient. However, as a caregiver and responsible for others’ care, we must think about detailed skin care practices in the elderly. It requires daily observation, regardless of where the caregiving is being provided. This is profoundly important especially if the care recipient sits long time periods or is bedridden. As the largest organ of the human system, if not accurately assessed, real problems can materialize. Our skin helps to regulate body temperature. It is our sensory alert system from the environment and protection for the body from disease.
Taking care of our protective covering is necessary and more so as we age. Skin that becomes red, dry, itchy, scaly, blotched, moles, greasy, discolored, extra thin, or loose(inelastic) should be assessed. If the care recipient has a chronic condition that could impact skin health (i.e., diabetes, renal disease, taking water bills), it is vital to do daily skin assessments. Also, keep in mind that environmental and climate factors can trigger skin problems and changes.
Did you know your skin’s appearance can tell if someone is a smoker (this nugget is free)?
Weather, soaps, or lotions that are used may be the cause of any of these conditions. If you ever have questions or concerns regarding any skin problem, consulting a dermatologist to diagnose and treat skin conditions is your proactive responsibility.
As a caregiver, your role is to pay attention to the skin of your loved one. Start at the head and finish under the bottom of the feet. Look under every flap. Look between fingers and toes. Look behind ears, in ears, on the nose, up the nose and pay attention to the eyelids, and finally, open all close splits (get my drift…LOL). Paying attention to our body regulator and our sensory alert system can ward off potential problems. No matter your situation, skincare is a part of the caregiving journey. Pay Attention.